TV holiday joy means ‘Wonderful Life,’ Reba, romance, Santa
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In need of a jolt of holiday joy? Or a comforting spot of romance or silliness or spirituality?
Television has you covered. There are classic old movies (“It’s a Wonderful Life”) and a sleigh full of new wannabes; Christmas carols galore; the majesty of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and, for New Year’s Eve homebodies, Manhattan’s Times Square ball drop among the possibilities.
Here are some of the highlights to consider (all times EST):
— “The Christmas Chronicles,” streaming now on Netflix. A scheme by a sister and brother (Darby Camp, Judah Lewis) to get videotape of Santa (Kurt Russell) in action turns into a wild Christmas Eve. Oliver Hudson and Kimberly Williams-Paisley also star.
__ “Christmas at Pemberley Manor,” 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, Hallmark. New York party planner Elizabeth Bennett (Jessica Lowndes) finds her plans for a small town’s holiday festival threatened by a billionaire (Michael Rady) lacking good cheer. But, shades of Jane Austen, love may save the day.
“Merry Wishmas,” 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, TV One. A successful businesswoman (Tamela Mann) visits her South Carolina hometown for a break but becomes enmeshed in local drama. David Mann, Kim Fields and Towanda Braxton co-star.
“Life-Size 2,” 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, Freeform. Francia Raisa (“grown-ish”) stars as Grace, the young CEO of a toy maker headed for financial trouble. But help is on the way, from a doll (Tyra Banks) magically brought to life.
— “Holiday Inn,” 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, Turner Classic Movies. Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby star in this 1942 classic as entertainers who compete in romance.
— “Santa’s Boots,” 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, Lifetime. Holly (Megan Hilty) is trying to rescue her family’s department store and solve the mystery of the handsome Santa (Noah Mills) who bolted, leaving only a boot.
— “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24, NBC. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed star in Frank Capra’s 1947 fable about appreciating one’s life, whatever path it takes. Lionel Barrymore’s Mr. Potter and Henry Travers’ Clarence the angel are part of the journey.
— “Great Performances: Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn — The Broadway Musical,” 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, PBS. A stage adaptation of the 1942 movie features “White Christmas” and more of Berlin’s score.
— “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, ABC. Charles M. Schulz’s timeless crew is back in the 1965 special that finds Charlie Brown confronting the materialism of Christmas with the help of Linus and, less successfully, Lucy.
— “Ken Jeong Cracks Christmas,” Wednesday, Dec. 12, BuzzFeed’s YouTube channel. The self-labeled holiday fanatic explores holiday pop-culture myths and more with guests Angela Kinsey, Joel McHale and Harry Schum Jr.
— “Lidia Celebrates America: A Heartland Holiday Feast,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, PBS (check local listings). Renowned chef Lidia Bastianich hits the road to seek holiday inspiration from different cultures and regions.
— “A Home for the Holidays: The 20th Anniversary,” 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 21, CBS. The spotlight is again on adoptions of children in foster care, with families sharing their stories and music stars providing the soundtrack.
— “A Christmas Story Live!” 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, Fox. Maya Rudolph, Matthew Broderick and Jane Krakowski star in this repeat airing of the 2017 TV musical inspired by the 1983 movie and a Broadway production. Andy Walken plays BB-gun loving Ralphie.
SOUNDS OF THE SEASON
— “CMA Country Christmas,” 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, ABC. Host Reba McEntire is joined by Tony Bennett, Brett Eldredge, Amy Grant, Diana Krall, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, The Isaacs and others, with classic songs and new collaborations part of the two-hour show.
— “Pentatonix: A Not So Silent Night,” 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, NBC. The vocal group is joined by Kelly Clarkson, the Backstreet Boys, Maren Morris and Penn & Teller on a musical exploration of Las Vegas.
— “Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, NBC. Singer-ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, an “America’s Got Talent” champion, celebrates the holiday with guests including Kristin Chenoweth, Toby Keith, Hunter Hayes and electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling.
— “Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” Monday, Dec. 17, PBS and BYUtv (check local listings). Actress-singer Sutton Foster is the guest artist and Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”) is the narrator for an evening including carols and a reading of the Christmas story from the Book of Luke.
— “Great Performances from Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2019,” 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, PBS. Bonneville is back as host of this Vienna Philharmonic concert with conductor Christian Thielemann, featuring Strauss family waltzes and the Vienna City Ballet.
AULD LANG SYNE
— “That’s Entertainment!” marathon, 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, TCM. Hosts Ben Mankiewicz, Eddie Muller, Alicia Malone and Dave Karger present the trio of films that revisit the MGM studio’s glory days.
— “Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve with Renee Fleming,” 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31. The orchestra and opera great Fleming join in a celebration of classical music and dance.
— “NBC’s New Year’s Eve,” 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, NBC. Hosts Carson Daly and Chrissy Teigen will be joined by Leslie Jones in New York City, with Keith Urban hosting and performing from Nashville’s Bicentennial State Park. More artists were to be announced.
— “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2019,” 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, ABC. The special hosted by Seacrest promises five-plus hours of performances and updates on celebrations around the world. Jenny McCarthy will be on hand to share her observations.
Lynn Elber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.